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By Matt Pacocha
It might surprise you to find out just what it takes to build a one-off bike. Travis Brown can sure tell you.
The Trek test rider and product developer lost one after last year’s early fall single-speed world championships.
Trek built Brown a custom polished one of a kind 69er single speed for the event in September. After a pre-ride, derby and race, Brown UPS’d his bike back to the U.S. and the men in brown promptly lost it.
After totaling it all up, Brown and Trek sent a bill to UPS for the sum of $10,000. It turns out when you add in the time of an engineer and master fabricator for one of the world’s largest bike manufacturers, things get expensive fast.
Brown wrote it off.
That is until a Trek dealer in the United Kingdom got a call from the UPS auction house, the branch of the shipping conglomerate that takes care of selling off unclaimed goods. An employee was looking for help setting a price for a polished aluminum single speed with two wheels that didn’t match.
The shop called Trek European marketing manager, Brian Buckle and he promptly identified it as Brown’s bike.
“They had a picture of the bike on their site with the bag open,” said Brown, “a picture of the bike.”
So, five months after losing it, Brown got his bike back.
The bike is mostly standard in construction, except for a 90mm bottom bracket shell that accepts the same bearings as a new Madone road bike, so that a Shimano crank can be directly inserted without a threaded bottom bracket unit.
The frame and Rhythm rims, both 29- and 26-inch, are polished. Trek outsourced the polish work to a local custom motorcycle shop.
The fork and hubs are custom painted brown, as are the custom painted logos.